Proxy War vs Cold War: Difference and Comparison

Wars are big battles that involve everyone, including states, countries, local governments, and central governments, and result in bloodshed, destruction, and aggression.

Even beautiful regions become barren ground as a result of such operations, which result in the deaths of millions of people throughout the conflict. There are numerous forms of war.

Proxy war and the Cold War are two examples of this sort of war. Both conflicts are fought between different nations. Proxy wars occur when powerful nations use proxies to attack one another rather than directly attacking one other.

On the other hand, the cold war occurs when powerful nations attack by securing their borders or by political means.


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Key Takeaways

  1. A proxy war is a conflict between two nations or groups using third parties to fight on their behalf, while a cold war is a state of political tension between two nations without actual warfare.
  2. In a proxy war, the nations involved provide support, resources, and sometimes troops to their allies or proxy forces. In contrast, in a cold war, nations engage in political, economic, and propaganda tactics to gain an advantage over the other.
  3. Proxy wars are often fought in developing nations or regions where the nations involved have strategic interests. In contrast, cold wars are more likely to occur between two superpowers with global influence.

Proxy War vs Cold War

A proxy war is a conflict between two nations where neither country engages in direct combat but instead supports other groups. The Cold War was a period of political and military tension between the Western powers, led by the United States, and the Eastern powers, led by the Soviet Union.

Proxy War vs Cold War

In Proxy wars, as the name implies, proxies or substitute armies are deployed during the fight among powerful and influential nations because countries do not engage in a fight by attacking the front foot.

There are many instances of such wars. The most well-known is the war of Greek Civil War.

The cold war is a confrontation between first nations, in which armies of warring countries strike each other in an attacking way without disguising or employing replacements.

However, when a war is particularly intense, a proxy army is sent alongside a direct force. The war that occurred between the USA and the USSR is an example of a cold war.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonProxy WarCold War
Army DeployedA proxy army is used in a proxy war to fight against an opposing country.In a cold war, direct actions are taken to fight against enemy nations.
FundsTerrorists or criminals are the main sources of funding for proxy conflicts.Cold conflicts are financed by legal funds provided by the government of that country.
Role of countryIn proxy wars, religious or extremist groups are generally used as proxies to attack another country.Countries’ militaries are participating in the cold war, along with intelligence teams, to advise military attacks on hostile governments.
Enemy’s PowerProxy wars are mostly aimed to strike weaker opponents.In the event of a cold war, the adversary country is equally powerful.
ExamplesThe war between Russia and Persian is an example of a proxy war.The war between The USA and USSR is an example of the cold war.

What is Proxy War?

As the name implies, a proxy war is one in which attacks are planned and carried out by proxies or substitute persons rather than an army.

Proxy wars began after Second World War when various parties banded together and plotted to attack other powerful nations by using their people as proxies.

In such wars, the governments and militaries of countries are not involved. They do not attempt to stay on the offensive even if they are involved.

Such proxy wars, which include the cost of military training, ammunition, and other munitions, are funded by extreme groups or faith groups organizing such wars rather than by the government or state of the nation.

Such intensive battles are planned to target weaker or adversary countries in secret, to destroy that nation.

Various terrorist-sponsoring countries have carried out numerous large proxy attacks in the past. The Roman-Persian Wars, the American-Russian conflict, and the Second Congo War are all well-known examples of such attacks.

In these, members of religious groups were substitutes for troops to show hatred towards another country. Many innocent people are killed as a result of proxy attacks or wars, and the lives of ordinary citizens, particularly children, are turned upside down.

proxy war

What is Cold War?

As the name implies, the Cold War is waged using political tactics, such as guarding a country’s border by deploying more soldiers. Some countries even fight each other economically instead of fighting in violence and aggression.

The administration of the country, in collaboration with its intelligence staff, fully supports these non-aggressive attacks. The cost of collaborating teams, military, and other such resources is funded by the state in a legal way.

After the Second World War concluded in 1945, a new war erupted. which is termed the cold war. During this moment, Nazi Germany surrendered to the formidable allies of the United States and the Soviet Union.

According to history, tensions between nations were one of the factors that led to the commencement of the cold war. This could be due to the employment of lethal weapons such as nuclear power.

The cold war began after 1945, and there were numerous frequent wars after that. The Cuban Missile Crisis, the Berlin Wall, Fidel Castro, and the fall of the Soviet Union all happened in quick succession.

Though powerful and influential countries did not attack other powerful countries directly with troops and armies in such scenarios, ordinary people suffered a slew of problems ranging from inflation to life-threatening situations.

cold war

Main Differences Between Proxy War and Cold War

  1. Proxy wars are covert conflicts orchestrated by extremist groups in which members of these groups participate as proxies in illegally fighting the war. On the other hand, the cold war was a non-aggressive and authorized indirect conflict.
  2. The financing for training people and purchasing explosives in proxy wars comes from groups or terrorists, whereas the government lawfully supports cold wars.
  3. Governments do not participate in proxy wars, even if they do, they participate indirectly. Complete conflicts are fought with the government’s node in the cold war case.
  4. A proxy war is intended to harm weaker countries or an enemy nation; nevertheless, a cold war occurs when different nations’ ideas and ideologies clash.
  5. Proxy wars have occurred in the past, such as the Second Congo War, the Roman-Persian War, and the Korean War (1950–1953). In the instance of the Cold War, there was a well-known war between the allies of the United States and the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.

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